Scotland Can Support our Trade Unions

Unions are vital partners in a fair economy. We completely oppose the UK Government’s attacks on trade unionism and will campaign for employment, health and safety, equality and trade union law to be devolved. Scottish Greens will continue to support trade union campaigns to deliver jobs with decent pay and conditions. We want to see unions play a bigger role in planning for Scotland’s economic future and we will promote direct employee involvement in all levels of work, such as management, business development and innovation.

Scotland can see trade unions play a greater role in Scotland’s economic future. Our manifesto sets out key ways we will ensure this.

  • Opposing the Trade Union Bill

    We support active non-compliance to oppose the implementation of the Trade Union Bill. While Scottish Labour actively blocked the devolution of trade union powers to Scotland we argued for it, and will continue to argue for further devolution.
  • Fighting for fairer working conditions

    The Scottish Greens are unequivocal in our support for trade union rights and the need to curb the power of corporate interests in Scotland. Everyone should be paid a wage that lifts them out of poverty, and no-one paid less because of their gender.
  • Industrial Rebalancing

    We have a plan to create over 200,000 new jobs across Scotland to develop and grow our industrial base,that will allow us to be industry world leaders once again. Greens will also support business models such as employee ownership.
The Trade Union Bill is an atrocious attack on the most basic rights of workers, and the Scottish Greens will stand with unions to make sure that this legislation will have absolutely no foothold in our country. We must hold onto our proud tradition for workers’ collective representation, and we will play our part in any non-violent direct action and non-compliance that our unions may decide to undertake.

Sarah Beattie-Smith

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Scotland can have fair working conditions:

  • Support Trade Unions. Unions are vital partners in a fair economy. We completely oppose the UK Government’s attacks on trade unionism and will campaign for employment, health and safety, equality and trade union law to be devolved. Scottish Greens will continue to support trade union campaigns to deliver jobs with decent pay and conditions. We want to see unions play a bigger role in planning for Scotland’s economic future and we will promote direct employee involvement in all levels of work, such as management, business development and innovation.

  • Fair pay. We believe everyone should be paid a wage that lifts them out of poverty, and that nobody should be paid less because of their gender. We will campaign to make government business support available only to those companies who plan to pay the Living Wage, avoid zero-hours contracts, recognise trade unions, reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, pay women and men equally and are environmentally responsible.

  • Equal access. Too many people are marginalised in the labour market including unpaid carers, disabled people, women, LGBTI+ people and those from minority ethnic groups. Green MSPs will support calls for a Gender Equality in Business scheme to incentivise gender-sensitive employment practices, and public procurement laws that allow decisions to be based on sustainability, equality, community benefit and local supply, not just the short-term cost. Greens will also back a non-permanent commission to tackle gender and racial occupational segregation in the labour market and lay out the case for the devolution of equalities legislation.

  • Health in the workplace. We spend a lot of our time at work, and occupational stress and health hazards are a significant cause of poor health. Scottish Greens will press for providing advice and support on reducing occupational health risks to be a continuing priority.

  • Diverse representation. Fair and diverse representation in public life is a matter of democracy and leads to better outcomes for everyone. We will encourage measures to increase the participation of all groups that are underrepresented in politics and public life, such as the introduction of 50% quotas for women on public boards. We back the One in Five and Women 50:50 campaigns.

  • No to TTIP. We are unequivocally opposed to the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) and similar deals which seek to expand corporate power and erode our public services. The Scottish Green Party has long opposed this deal and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the millions of citizens across Europe who believe that the undermining our democracies is completely unacceptable. If efforts to prevent this retrograde legislation from passing through the European Parliament fail, Green MSPs would pursue measures to ensure that it never takes effect in Scotland.

Scotland can do business differently:

  • Business models that deliver more. Green MSPs will support social enterprises, cooperatives and employee-owned businesses to be at the heart of the economy. These business models deliver not just profits but social and environmental improvements too. Over 112,000 people are working in Scotland’s social enterprises, with 60% of these led by women. Employee-owned businesses are delivering increased sales, employment, profits and productivity. Greens will support these business models that challenge the status quo, promote equality and deliver more for Scotland.

  • Offshore skills. Scotland has world-leading offshore engineering skills and a wealth of natural resources around our shores. With skills in sub-sea engineering concentrated in Aberdeen we have an opportunity to excel in offshore wind, tidal and wave energy. The Scottish Greens’ Jobs in Scotland's New Economy report, published in 2015, demonstrates how to create over 200,000 new jobs by 2035, compared with the 156,000 jobs currently provided by the Scottish fossil fuel extraction industry. Green MSPs will support measures to increase access to new jobs for groups underrepresented in science, technology and engineering, including women and people from minority ethnic communities.

  • Local banks, credit unions and local currencies. Social enterprises and employee-owned companies need finance and the financial institutions to match. Credit unions offer a realistic alternative to the traditional banking sector for many individuals and communities throughout Scotland, providing affordable, community-based, socially responsible lending and investment. Green MSPs will campaign to support credit unions and local banks to create a network of accountable finance institutions. These banking institutions would be more resilient than the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks of today. We will also explore whether local currencies can encourage local trading activity to support independent retailers and small high street traders.

  • A public sector drive for sustainability. Along with companies and trade unions, we believe local authorities and enterprise agencies have vital roles in supporting a low carbon transition and securing future jobs. We will expand Scottish Enterprise's remit to supporting an economy that strengthens communities and delivers sustainability. We will create an economic development agency for rural areas not covered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including the South of Scotland. We support empowering local authorities to issue low-carbon infrastructure bonds; divest public pension funds from fossil fuels, tobacco and firearms; deliver City Deals based on sustainable industries; and create local energy companies to deliver clean energy, cheaper heating, and plough profits back into public services.

Scotland can support people in and out of work:

  • Support for employment. Powers to support people unemployed for a year or more will be devolved to Scotland over the next Parliament. The largest scheme, the Work Programme, has failed to deliver for the people who need it and now faces a funding cut of 87%. Green MSPs will push for a new scheme delivered on a non-profit basis, contracted locally to the public and third sector, which recognises the value of voluntary work and makes a genuine investment in participants’ skills. Such a scheme would address barriers to accessing work on account of age, disability, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Greens will also push for devolution and expansion of the Access to Work scheme which supports disabled people to start or remain in work.  

  • Scotland Guarantee. Green MSPs will campaign for a Scotland Guarantee of a job, training or education for every school-leaver. Latest figures show 8% of school leavers left school without a job or more education, but this rises to 15% for pupils from the poorest areas. Local authority and Scottish Government action, such as the Edinburgh Guarantee and Opportunities for All, has helped reduce that number but too many young people are still left without the opportunity to work or study. Green MSPs will campaign for better opportunities for all young people leaving school.

  • Stand against benefit sanctions. We believe sanctions that punish people for unemployment have no place in a fair system. The sanctions regime is reserved but the UK Department for Work and Pensions relies on information from Work Programme providers to know who to sanction. Green MSPs will campaign for new provider contracts to include a clause preventing them from sharing information with DWP that would lead to a benefit sanction, thus ending sanctions for a significant number of benefit claimants in Scotland.

  • Intermittent Work Scheme. We will encourage diversity across the culture sector, with the introduction of an ‘Intermittent Work Scheme’ for working artists so that they are entitled to receive a monthly payment during breaks in work. This will help to ensure that people from a range of backgrounds are able to access employment and stay in the Creative Industries.

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